Saturday, August 25, 2007

Top Chef 3 Crawls Along at a Snail’s Pace, While Bravo Pushes Welcome to the Parker Out the Door

This Wednesday, Top Chef fans are forced into enduring another hiatus and watching another nonsensical repeat of the all stars episode. Here's what I think about that.

To add insult to injury Bravo isn’t even trying to cobble together a “What are they doing now?” show, or a reunion show of all the chefs ousted in the first two episodes. Pouring salt into the viewers’ wounds, they scheduled this blank moment after back to back Restaurant Challenges that already had slowed momentum to a crawl. (C’mon, fess up folks, which of you didn’t know Tre was going? The clues were HUGE, with Tom portending that it doesn’t matter how great your past performances were, it’s the last performance that counts!) And for those of you who are into Sara bashing, just remember Ms. Place’s kind remarks about her all along in her comments on other blogs as well as her own. Girlfriend’s been working under the radar, garnering solid reviews and pleasing the diners. BOOM! Now she’s won an elimination challenge and quickfire challenge. She reminds me of a charcoal fire that simmers for a long time before it bursts into flame.

But Tre amd Sara are not the point. Here’s Bravo’s juggernaut hit Top Chef (outgunned only by Project Runway) inching painfully along, while Welcome to the Parker is already staring at its finale. Just when I get comfortable with this quirky but well done show, I’ll have the rug pulled from under me after only six shows. Why? Will Flipping Out also enjoy a similarly short run?

What is Bravo doing? There have been so many new Bravo reality shows this season that I can’t keep them all straight. In addition, these shows have had to compete with American Idol, Dancing Under the Stars, America’s Got Talent, Big Brother, and the current Design Star. It’s hard to remember the who, what, where, when, and why.

Hey Paula deserved its short run. In fact, the show should have been pulled after the first episode, but I could have watched more of Life on the D-List, Work Out, Shear Genius, and Top Design. Those shows, along with Welcome to the Parker are being rushed so quickly that they're gone before a viewer can really get invested in them.
Here are a few of my suggestions for scheduling future reality shows, Bravo:
  • Air only two new reality shows at a time.
  • Give all of them a minimum of an 8-week run.
  • Keep reunion shows and hiatuses to a maximum of one per show.
  • Keep elimination of two contestants in one show to a minimum.
  • Do what Idol does (and what you're doing with Project Runway), and let us get to know all the contestants in the first show; don't begin eliminations until the second episode.
  • Keep the judges in the background and let the contestants shine (you generally do this very well, but you failed miserably with Top Design.)
  • Keep covering those poignant moments so well, as with Doug Blasdell's and Patrick Griffin's deaths.
  • DON'T schedule another hiatus for Top Chef 3.
  • DON'T ever show another Hey Paula ever again. Don't even think about repeats.
  • Toss those Orange County Housewives on their well massaged rears and cancel those repeats.Thanks for listening, Ms. Place.